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The Symbolic Meaning of Plumeria

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 22, 2018

Have you ever wanted to visit a tropical Eden such as Hawaii to walk the beaches, take in the sites and breath in the rich scent of coconuts and citrus fruits that infuse the island?  Well, here’s yet another reason to get planning on that trip!  If you enjoy learning about flowers, you’ll love the fact that a stunning species known as “Plumeria” flourishes in many parts of this frequently visited vacation destination.  The appearance of the blossom is pure perfection and sometimes gives the illusion of being too good to be true, often mistaken for a silk replication.   Cultivated from trees instead of flowers grown from plant seed, the pretty heads extend from the ends of branches in shades of white, pink, yellow and orange.  The species requires warm temperatures to reach full maturity at around 28 feet from top to base, which is why places such as Hawaii make it the ideal home for plumeria.  

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Photo credit: via instagram.com/glenmorehouse

Since the presence of the flower is already abundant within this region, it’s no wonder why its blooms are frequently used in common cultural and social customs.  Having the stunning properties of rich color and strong aromatic scent, plumeria is a highly demanded variety for local florists who are preparing annual events and festivities.  Leis are one item that is often seen using plumeria, particularly when there is a special occasion such as a wedding or similar celebration.  The blossoms are also utilized as hair pieces for women which can actually tell a person whether or not they are romantically involved with someone.  Worn over the right ear would indicate she is unattached while the left signals she’s already spoken for.   Wouldn’t dating be so much easier if the rest of the world followed this useful tradition?


Like many other flowers, plumeria has a strong meaning of symbolism for those who choose to acknowledge the reason. Among some traits associated with the flower such as beauty, purity and health, other meanings stand for the arrival of springtime and new beginnings.  If you have a friend who is starting a new venture, beginning a new job or moving to another area, you might want to consider gifting them with this token which will wish them luck.  The celebration of life with a newborn baby is another great way to utilize the positive spiritual antics of the plumeria flower.     

         

Tags: plumeria, lei, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings

The Symbolic Meaning of Bougainvillea

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 15, 2018

Bougainvillea is a stunning flower which is favorite to many who have fallen in love with its cheery appearance and brightly colored petals.  Considered a traditional bloom, New Englanders have long been planting this variety in and around their homes even though the original origin traces back to tropical climates.  Native to the Caribbean Islands, Rio de Janeiro as well as South America, countries such as Brazil and Granada use this bloom as a symbol frequently within their culture, celebrating the beauty and charm of the species.  Grown in shades of red, orange, pink, white and some variegated tri-colors, the soft and delicate “paper-like” petals have made it famous across the world.  In some nations such as Guam and Granada, bougainvillea is so special that it has become the official flower where it is purposefully grown in abundance.  In many of these places, you can see these flowers blooming everywhere from the side of the road to gorgeous cascades drifting across rooftops and down the walls.  

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The symbolic meaning of bougainvillea changes from one area of the globe to another but the majority claims it stands for a sign of welcoming visitors and beauty.  Hawaii is a prime example who sometimes exchanges the orchids used in leis with florets of bougainvillea on special occasions.  In other cultures, the plant is considered a symbol of peace and an encourager of free trade between two entities. Others believe that gifting a stem to a loved one will ignite passion within the relationship.  


Talking in terms of floral design, these beauties can really lift up a drab arrangement and fill it with interesting texture and hues.  Although the flowers are not prone to cold winter weather here in New England, on occasion, shipments will be flown into Boston during the warmer months of the year.  There is also the possibility of finding a native supplier who harvests this variety during temperate periods of the calendar.  In this case, invest in buying a bundle of branches which you can take home and showcase in a tall clear vase.  Other ideas on how to use bougainvillea include potting in small ceramic containers for your windowsill or transporting the plant into a hanging basket where the branches can flow freely.  Either way you choose, this stunner is a perfect addition to any flower lovers collection.

Tags: bougainvillea, Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers

Coco Movie Shines a Light on Marigolds

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jan 10, 2018

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Have you seen the movie “Coco” out in theaters yet?  If you haven’t there are so many reasons why you should grab your ticket stub now and hurry down to the cinema!  Not only is this children’s film filled with sweet sentiment surrounding the importance of family but the writers cleverly added a detail that you know I can’t resist talking about… FLOWERS!

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If you aren’t familiar with the plot of the flick- I’ll fill you in on the basics of this deep and moving story.  Miguel is a young boy growing up in Mexico with a family who has shunned music entirely from their homes.  The practice dates back to the his great-great grandfather who abandoned his wife and child to follow his heart to become a world-renowned musician.  Of course, Miguel wants nothing more but to follow in the footsteps of the man believed to be the greatest singer/songwriter/guitarist of all time but will he defy his elders to do it?  The problem comes to a crossroads when his grandmother refuses to give him her blessing to follow his dreams, pushing the boy to take matters into his own hands.  Seeing only one way to fix this problem, Miguel travels to the “other side” in search for his true grandfather on “The Day of the Dead”- the one evening of the year when the deceased can be reunited with their loved ones.  Will Miguel meet the man who changed music forever or will he remain trapped and lose his family forever?

 

You’ll have to watch to find out what happens but back to the part about the flowers…

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What I loved most about the film was the incredible cinematography, particularly the scenes shot with the “Petal Blessings.”  The marigold being the lucky flower chosen to signify the gesture, audiences will be pulled into the screen by the glowing, magical, orange offerings symbolizing hope to trust in yourself.  His grandmother even teaches Miguel the importance of remembering the dead with a shrine of flowers.

Tags: Marigold, Flower Meanings, Language of Flowers, Flowers in the Movies, Hollywood Florist

Saying “I’m Sorry” with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Oct 25, 2017

So, you’ve found yourself in the doghouse again and this time a quick apology isn’t going to save the day or your relationship.  We’ve all been there- after all love is an imperfect game where partners can change players all the time.  But if you think you’ve found your special someone and aren’t ready to throw in the towel quite yet, you’re going to really have to show that special someone how regretful you are when you’ve made a mistake.  In this case, a sweet gesture just may warm your interest back up again and pave the way for forgiveness.  One opinion is to send a small gift that conveys your feelings.

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While jewelry is one of the most popular solutions to fix these sorts of dilemmas, rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings can run rather pricey and be misconstrued as a “payoff present.  Since you don’t want to stir the kettle any more than it already is, option number 2 may reveal better results in the long run plus won’t impale your wallet to terribly.  The second common way to say “I’m sorry” are flowers which have been revered as the highest recognized symbol for romance and love.  Since the beginning of time, couples have used the presentation of blossoms to convey several messages to their life mates, particularly when needed for an apology.  You’ll have a huge range of options to choose from allowing you to control expenses as well as be able to order a bouquet that is specifically tailored to him or her. Here is a list of currently trendy floral species used by Boston florists and a couple of examples describing what the arrangements might look like.


Varieties that are perfect for sending an apology are:


  1. Lilies- so fragrant they’ll forget what they are so mad about.
  2. Orchids-exotic orchids represent passion and fire.
  3. French Tulips- decadently strong in appearance, these say you were meant to last.
  4. Sweet Pea- nothing says how you feel like a fresh bunch of pink sweet pea.
  5. Roses- a timeless classic that stands for everlasting romance.     

Tags: Sorry Flowers, Apology Flowers, Flowers for Emotional Health, Language of Flowers

I'm Sorry Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 28, 2017

“Make Up or Break Up” – we’ve all been there before, probably on both sides of the fence at least once or twice where we find ourselves struggling to either fix the broken aspects of a relationship or decide to cut the cord.  It might not be the most pleasant period of a romance but it is one, which gifts us with useful experience to bring into the future even when it can be painful.  While some partnerships are just not capable of repairing irrevocable damage, there are others that are in fact salvageable, particularly when showing the depth of which you care.

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Boston florists understand this fact all too well and are quite accustomed to assisting the broken hearted in their efforts to win back the object of their affection by offering a token- a floral token.  For centuries, eons and light years across history, both men and women have been using the gesture of gifting flowers to smooth the bumpy course of love and heal the damaged facets of their relationships.  As you can imagine, there’s never a “sure thing” outcome.  After all, each partnership is different and requires its own unique medicine when it comes to mending fences but flowers are always a great place to start.


So how big or small of an effort should you make?  Well, that depends on your partner’s taste and just how serious of a problem you’re facing.  In most situations, if it’s a guy who’s purchasing the flowers, he’ll typically opt for a generous bundle of fresh blooms hoping to make an impressive impact.  When you’re talking about women doing the apologizing, the opposite is usually true where she’ll decide upon a smaller bouquet or even a single stem.  Why is this true?  I have no idea but industry experts report the statistics in their experience and apparently this holds water.  Does it mean you’re limited to this framework?  Absolutely not but if you’re not sure on how to go about buying flowers for your pickled partner, this is a solid piece of advice.  Another aspect you’ll want to keep in mind is favorite scents, colors and varieties your partner may have.  Also, get creative and think back to better times when things were more romantic and offer flowers that have some sort of importance in your relationship’s history.  A walk through a daisy field, roses from a Valentine’s Day first date or a vase of sweet pea celebrating a past anniversary are usually effective winners and could be your best bet.


Good luck and don’t worry if the flowers don’t do the trick.  Chances are, it just wasn’t meant to be…

Tags: Sorry Flowers, Emotion Flowers, Flowers for Emotional Health, Language of Flowers

The Symbolic Meaning of the Butter Cup

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 18, 2017

One of the first flowers we are ever introduced to as children is the “buttercup”, a bloom which most of us found popping up in our backyards in pretty patches of yellow.  Perhaps you picked a bouquet for your mother or maybe rubbed the petals against your chin to see it glow?  However you played with these beloved, tiny blossoms, I’m confident that many of you have a summer memory or two that includes the buttercup in childhood play.  

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photo credit via wikipedia.org

Belonging to the “ranunculus” family, this plant often has yellow, shiny petals and a green center, which is easily cultivated in a multitude of areas such as meadows, glens and grassy areas.   Often, it is referred to as a “weed” only because it needs little to survive and can be counted on to arrive each and every spring depending on weather conditions. Due to it’s congenial growing temperament, it’s no wonder why the buttercup becomes a sought after ground cover for many landscaping designs.


Because the buttercup is so closely intertwined with children, the symbolic meaning is understandably synonymous with this theme.  Although there are variations, quite often the flower is said to represent joy, youth, purity, happiness and friendship.  It can also mean playfulness, cheerfulness and sunshine, which reflect the bloom’s happy appearance.  If you wake up from having a dream about buttercups, this can mean that you are missing some piece of your childhood and perhaps it’s time to visit the house where you grew up or call and old friend.  Another meaning can be that you are making decisions in life, which are moving you at an uncomfortably fast pace.  In this case, it’s wise to slow down and reevaluate the direction you’ve chosen.


So where do these references originate from?  Through myth and history, the buttercup has earned its reputation from a miser and a cow, each offering their unique take on why the flower remains symbolically important.  In the first example, it is said that a miser was punished for not sharing his gold coins with fairies one day while crossing a meadow.  This angered the fairies, making them poke a hole in the bag thus dropping the money to the ground.  Fearing the miser would notice, they turned the gold into yellow flowers, which hid them from his view.  The second story originates from a farmer believing that his prized cow gave the sweetest milk because she only grazed on yellow buttercups instead of grass like the others.  The blooms nutrients were said to have made her milk delicious, surpassing any heifer in town.  You may want to take this legend with a grain of salt because cows or humans should never ingest the buttercup.  The high toxicity of the plant can cause sickness and in some cases even death.  

Tags: About Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers

The Symbolic Meaning of the Gillyflower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Aug 11, 2017

How many of you out there have ever heard of the “Gillyflower”?  I have to admit, I was kind of in the dark about this stock flower, which not only has an interesting appearance but also holds significant symbolic meaning to many cultures around the world.  The species grows quite richly in diversity and is thought of as a traditional bloom originating in the Mediterranean.  Although it has now been successfully cultivated in other warmer regions and still continues to grow as a highly demanded import, gillyflower remains historically as one of the original “romantic” plants for lovers.

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Coming from the “stock” family, this flower holds a stunning scent within every puffy bloom and also possesses the sought after trait of being a hardy crop.  While gillyflower grows in a multitude of different colors, pink, cream and shades of white are popularly used in wedding bouquets and centerpieces (different meanings apply to different shades).  Of course, the flower’s intoxicating smell is a strong seller to brides but more than that is it’s sweet yet sturdy presentation when intermixed with a variety of other species.  The fact that gillyflower is also attached to themes of “bliss” and “everlasting love” also helps to put this bloom at the top of many wedding party planner’s lists.


The symbolism of the stock flower dates back to centuries ago in England where it was used as a type of currency to buy parcels of land.  Often referred to as “clove”, people believed the blossom to be valuable, which attributes the “opulence” and “wealth” end of its meaning.  Gillyflower can also stand for accepting and enjoying the life you have been given, endless beauty, purity, adoration, a religious connection and even as a sign for the zodiac, Taurus.  In general, this flower represents a long lived life, luck and immense happiness so it’s a wonderful choice for weddings, births and special anniversaries.  

Tags: About Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols, Language of Flowers

The Symbolic Meaning of the Blue Violet

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Aug 07, 2017

With such a vast array of contemporary flowers available to us these days, it’s sometimes easy to forget about some of the beautiful classic species we grew up with.  Many of these stunning blooms we can still find in our backyard, one of which is the blue violet.  How many times have you come across this sweet flower and never realized the importance they hold when speaking in terms of symbolic meaning?  Generations of growers and floral enthusiasts will tell you that these pretties are quite special when considering their background.   

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photo credit via proflowers.com

Not only are violets the official flower for celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary but they’re also a sign of intuition and spiritual connection.  Having five heart-shaped petals typically surrounding a white center, these early spring bloomers can be found anywhere from wooded glens to grassy meadows.  While most grow wildly in nature, violet lovers will be pleased to know that many greenhouses now carry samplings in a variety of different colors for those who wish to cultivate a crop in their own backyard.  

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Rosario Dawson as Persephone in Percy Jackson 

Another connection the violet plays in relation to history is a religious theme, which links to Catholicism’s Virgin Mary.  Because of this, the violet can signify “Modesty” and “Humility” and often is looked upon as a sign of innocence.  Bunches of violets were hence used as gifts to newlyweds at the beginning of their sexual relationship.  In Greek mythology, once again Persephone has a relationship to a flower because it is said that she collected clumps of violets before she was taken down the underworld each fall as a memento of the happier days spent in the spring.  


The last symbolic reference the flower is recognized by is its relationship to “love”.  Nosegays of the spring bloomer were once offered as a token to a new love interest as the traditional gesture and is still often requested by florists to serve as this very purpose.  Simple, elegant and delicate, violets make a statement that a relationship is everlasting and will stand the test of time.  

Tags: Violets, Language of Flowers, Flower Meanings, Flowers as Symbols

The Meaning of the Cornflower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Wed, Jul 19, 2017

There are so many beautiful colors you’ll find in a garden, but when you spot a species grown entirely in blue-you stop and take notice.  While there are many different varieties grown in red, orange and yellow, it’s sometimes hard to cultivate indigo blossoms because the truth is, there just aren’t that many in existence.  It is for this reason, which make delphinium, hydrangea and forget-me-nots so special in our gardens.  One blue flower that happens to be a top favorite is the cornflower, which interestingly enough has a strong symbolic meaning in several cultures and religions.

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photo credit via McQueens Flowers London

Everything about this flower means something good (well, almost good)- a rare trait in floral lure.  The first species date back to the mid 1800’s where it became a symbol for many European countries.  First and foremost, the cornflower has a strong political tie, particularly to Prussia, Germany, France and Estonia.   The most well know story tied to this species dates back to when Napoleon invaded Prussia and Queen Louise was forced to hide her children in a field of cornflower to camouflage their presence.  As she told them to lie down on top of the flowers, she wove crowns out of the wildflowers and told the children to wear them on their heads to blend in with gardens.


Soon, the flower was also adopted by Germany as a symbol of military as well as France who emulated it’s similar color to their soldier’s uniforms.  Estonia also uses the cornflower to signify political parties including the People’s Union and the Liberal People’s Party as well as a symbol of bread.


On a negative side, the cornflower was also taken as a warning signal worn by the Natzi’s in Austria.  It is because of this tainted past that many countries did not want to utilize the blossom for their nation’s pride in fear they would be seen as supportive of Hitler’s horrendous reign in power.  It took years for the cornflower to win back a positive reputation where today it can also mean wealth, pride and an abundance of good fortune.  

Tags: Cornflower, Flowers as Symbols, Flower Meanings, Language of Flowers

The Meaning of Lily of the Valley Flower

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

Lily of the Valley


Susana means lily of the valley.

Shoshanna, curled petals for hair and a bridged nose,

pollen specked and running.

I was named for Abuelita Susana,

she was a leather belt and anti-semite,

stinging my dad with welts until adulthood.

Abuela did not mean her name…


By Susana Cardenas-Soto


The sweet and pungent aroma of lily of the valley makes this spring bloom one of New England’s favorite signs of warmer weather arriving.  The delicate structure of the plant also adds to its allure having tiny white bells dancing up a slender stem with bright green foliage, which wraps around the flower.  Most believe that clumps of lily of the valley standing alone in a glass vase is enough to decorate any room, needing no other varieties to spruce up their appeal.  Blooming anywhere from early March to late April, the plant loves temperate days and chilly nights that produce its optimum growing conditions.  Unfortunately, the flowers disappear almost instantly once we head into summer but the good news is, this bulbed beauty will spread its roots and triple in shoots when the next seasonal cycle begins.  Also known as “Convallaria”, you can find the tiny bells growing almost everywhere on lawns and around houses but their favorite spot is in the forest where they really flourish.  Lily of the Valley makes an excellent ground covering because its easy to plant and requires almost no maintenance making this a go-to for landscapers as they await June’s fresh crop of perennials.

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Jacqueline Bouvier, Grace Kelly and Caroline Schlossberg are just a few princess like brides who carried lily of the valley as brides.

The symbolic meaning of the flower is widely disputed since the variety is old and is referenced by several different cultures around the world.  One of the more popular legends surmises that the flower is an omen of war and bloodshed.  Lily of the Valley was religiously tied to Saint Leonard who had decided to live a life of solitary existence in the depths of the woods.  Hoping to live out his days in purity, he unfortunately falls to the wiles of the devil who successfully tempts him, thus breaking the Saint’s vows of saintly hood.  For his punishment, the devil transforms itself into a beastly dragon that attacks Leonard and causes him to bleed profusely.  After his blood has shed into the ground below, lily of the valley was believed to grow in masses out of the red liquid symbolizing remembrance, solitude and grief.  

Today, we recognize lily of the valley as a sign of good luck and is often given in bunches to friends and family on the first day of May.  If you are lucky to be the recipient of such a gesture, myth reveals that you will have a spring and summer filled with adventure and love.  

Tags: Lily of the Valley, Flowers as Symbols, Flower Meanings, Language of Flowers

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